Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks at the “Ukraine: Year 2024” conference, Kyiv, February 25, 2024 (Valentyn Ogirenko/ Reuters)

Sunday’s Coverage: Kyiv Marks 2 Years of Resistance v. Russia’s Invasion

Map: Institute for the Study of War


Hungary’s Parliament has approved a bill to allow Sweden to join NATO (see 1415 GMT).

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson hailed the news:

NATO Secretary Jens Stoltenberg added:


German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has rejected Ukraine’s appeal for the provision of long-range Taurus cruise missiles.

Scholz said at a conference of the German news agency DPA, “It is a very far-reaching weapon. And what the British and French are doing in terms of target control and accompanying target control cannot be done in Germany.”

Ukrainian officials want the Taurus missiles, which can hit targets up to 500 km (312 miles) with great precision, to cut supply lines to Russia’s invaders.

Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told the German media network RND, “The final decision rests with Germany. But I’d like everyone to be aware that we do need these weapons.”

He said of concerns that the provision could bring Germany into direct conflict with Russia, “I think that after the first delivery of Leopard tanks, this fear was dispelled. Since then, the argument about escalation has been removed.”


Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has said at the Hungarian Parliament that Budapest “will approve Sweden’s NATO accession”.

Orbán, a long-time ally of Vladimir Putin, has held out for months against confirming Sweden as the 32nd member of NATO. However, his position was weakened last month when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan lifted his own blockade, leaving Hungary as the sole holdout.

Orbán told lawmakers that Sweden’s NATO membership “will strengthen Hungary’s security”.

Trying to cover up his retreat — he also capitulated over European Union negotiations for Ukraine’s accession and the EU’s €50 billion fund for Kyiv through 2027 — Orban postured, “Hungary is a sovereign country and does not tolerate others dictating to it, whether it is about the content or timing of decisions.”

The vote is expected at about 1500 GMT.


Propagandist Vladimir Solovyov, who has a prime-time show on Russian State TV, receives more than 1.5 billion roubles ($16 million) annually from the Russian State budget, according to internal Kremlin documents.

An investigation by Delfi Estonia, which obtained the documents, established the payments to Solovyov in 2023 and 2024 for “information and ideological warfare”.

The polemicist was scheduled to receive 3 billion roubles ($32 million) this year, but funding eventually was maintained at the same level.

Maria Lvova-Belova, Russia’s “Children’s Rights” Commissioner will receive $456,000 this year “for the removal of children from the Special Military Occupation Zone [in Ukraine]”.

Lvova-Belova and Vladimir Putin are the subjects of arrest warrants issued last March by the International Court of Justice over the deportations.


Denmark has ended its investigation into explosions in September 2022 which damaged three of four Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines carrying Russian gas to Germany.

The pipelines were struck in the Baltic Sea, near Denmark’s Bornholm Island. No group has claimed responsibility.

“There are not sufficient grounds to pursue a criminal case in Denmark…and therefore the Copenhagen Police has decided to conclude the criminal investigation of the explosions,” Danish police said in a statement.

They expressed their belief that the pipelines had been sabotaged.

Sweden dropped its investigation earlier this month, saying it lacked jurisdiction in the case. Evidence was handed over to German investigators, who have not yet published any findings.


Five civilians have been killed and 10 injured in Russian attacks over the past day.

In the Sumy region in northern Ukraine, a couple were killed whe guided bombs fell on the village of Yunakivka, less than 10 km (6 miles) from the border. One house was destroyed and five others damaged.

In Nikopol in the Dnipropetrovsk region in south-central Ukraine, a 57-year-old man was killed when a drone dropped explosives on his truck. Four people were injured in Dnipro.

In the village of Tiahynka in the Kherson region in southern Ukraine, a 44-year-old man and a 62-year-old woman were killed.


Ukraine’s air force says air defenses downed 9 of 14 Iran-made attack drones and 3 of 7 guided missiles fired by Russia overnight.


Russian forces have again executed a group of Ukrainian defenders trying to surrender, reports Ukraine’s human rights ombudsman, Dmytro Lubinets.

Lubinets said the probable war crime was committed on Saturday in the Bakhmut district of the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine. He said the exact number of slain Ukrainians is not yet known, but is likely to be at least seven.

On the video that we were able to watch we saw that the Ukrainian soldiers were surrendering: they held their hands up and showed they were unarmed, posing no threat. The Russians were supposed to take them captive, but instead they mercilessly shot them dead.

Russia’s invaders have periodically been caught on video executing prisoners of war. There have been four cases in the past two weeks in Donetsk as the Russians try to advance.

See also Ukraine War, Day 673: Another Russian Execution of POWs

ORIGINAL ENTRY: Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy says 31,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed during Russia’s two-year invasion.

Speaking at the Ukraine: Year 2024 conference, Zelenskiy said he could not disclose the number of wounded because it would help Russian military planning.

31,000 Ukrainian troops have been killed in this war. Not 300,000, not 150,000….Putin is lying there….But nevertheless, this is a big loss for us.

Last summer US officials estimated that close to 70,000 Ukrainians had been killed during the invasion and 100,000 to 120,000 had been wounded.

The independent Russian outlet Mediazona and BBC Russia have confirmed the identities of 44,654 Russian troops killed in the invasion, using public sources such as obituaries, posts by relatives, news in regional media, and reports by local authorities.

The journalists emphasize that the actual number of Russian casualties is likely to be far higher. The Ukraine General Staff says Russia has lost 402,430 personnel, while senior US defense officials estimate 315,000 Russian troops have been killed or injured.

“The Most Difficult Moment”

Zelenskiy said of the current state of the battlefield and Russia’s daily attacks on civilian sites:

Now is the most difficult moment for our unity, and if we all fall apart, from the outside and God forbid inside, then this will be the weakest moment. It has not happened yet.

The third year is a turning point. A year of elections, defocusing, everything at once, challenges from outside, from within….I believe the format of how the war ends will depend on this year.

However, he said that Ukraine is ready for any further Russian offensive this spring:

Russia will prepare counter-offensive operations in early summer, or at the end of May if they can. They will prepare. We will prepare for their assault.

Their assault that began on Oct. 8, has not brought any results, I believe. We, for our part, will prepare our plan and follow it.

The President assured that Kyiv has a clear plan for its own counter-offensive this year. Referring to the recent “reset” in which he changed military personnel including the commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s forces, he said, “This plan is related to the change of management, there are corresponding changes. We need to prepare reserves. They haven’t been prepared properly, and that’s also a fact.”